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Anemia From Heavy Bleeding: Care Instructions

Blood vessel

Your Care Instructions

Anemia means that your body does not have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body.

When you have anemia, you may feel dizzy, tired, and weak. You may also feel your heart pounding. For some people, it's hard to focus and think clearly.

One common cause of anemia is bleeding. Bleeding from ulcers, hemorrhoids, cancer, or other problems can cause anemia. It may also be caused by heavy menstrual periods.

Your treatment may include iron pills. Iron helps your body make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen. If you have severe anemia, you may need a blood transfusion to give you red blood cells as quickly as possible.

Sometimes it takes several months to get iron levels back to normal.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Follow your doctor's advice about eating foods that have a lot of iron in them. These include red meat, shellfish, poultry, and eggs. They also include beans, raisins, whole-grain bread, and leafy green vegetables.
  • Steam your vegetables. This is the best way to prepare them if you want to get as much iron as possible.
  • Iron pills can cause constipation. If you take them, there are things you can do to avoid constipation. Drink plenty of fluids, eat foods with a lot of fibre, and exercise every day.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are short of breath.
  • You have new or worse bleeding.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You feel weaker or more tired than usual.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.